Much like many aspects of our culture, it's hard to acutely define "American music." True to our national form, it's a melting pot of sounds! That hasn't stopped local promoter Harmonica Dunn from trying to honor American music, a style that falls somewhere between roots and rock ‘n roll, over the course of this weekend with the Dunn Dunn Fest.
Dunn Dunn Fest showcases 12 artists and 4 local venues between February 20 and February 22. At just $30 for a three-day pass, this might be your most affordable and fun way to help pass the late winter weeks.
February 20 at Tonic Room (2447 N. Halsted)
This night of local singer/songwriters kicks off with Ryan Joseph Anderson. After five years of fronting Go Longe Mule, he's decided to take a stab at solo songwriting that highlights the blues and psychedelic folk rock. Cody Diekhoff will also perform under his moniker Chicago Farmer. His similarly twang-filled tunes remind listeners of the rural scenes of Illinois located just outside of town. Spunky singer Tristen headlines the night. She's a Chicago resident now but she picked up a flair for country and folk music during her years spent living in Nashville.
February 21 at the Hideout (1354 W. Wabansia)
The night kicks off with a bang as Michele McGuire celebrates the release of her new EP Off The Wagon. McGuire's advanced songwriting skills aren't indicative of her young age, 23, and her strong grasp of bluegrass and roots music wouldn't exactly clue you into her upbringing on Chicago's South Side. Perhaps the most traditionally country band on the festival's bill, The Whiskey Gentry also take the stage on Saturday. Originally formed by husband and wife team Lauren Staley and Jason Morrow, this band is sure to get your toes tapping. The night's headliner Martin Van Ruin just released its debut album last month but the local music scene is already eating it up. Combining vintage pop, rock and folk elements, Every Man A King sounds like it comes to us from a different era.
February 21 at Beat Kitchen (2100 W. Belmont)
The night kicks off with Safe Haven, who have really honed their southern sound in the last several years. No, we're not talking about the south side of Chicago, where the band formed, we're talking about the South. Blues guitars, the occasional brass instrument and robust baritone vocals dominate their songs. Also catch Great Divide, whose piano-driven tracks have a light-heartedness to them that can life even the heaviest of winter blues. Finally, we're excited to see The Soil & The Sun return to Chicago. This eclectic folk/rock act has one of the more dynamic live shows, with one of the widest arrays of instrumentation, that this writer has seen around town.
February 22 at Subterranean (2011 W. North Ave.)
The final night of Dunn Dunn Fest kicks off with Santah, a band that's just as good at composing a soft-spoken acoustic slowburner as they are a danceable, electric ditty. Next up, Daniel Ellsworth & The Great Lakes put an updated, airy spin on blues-y pop music. The festival will out with a bang when Moon Taxi hits the stage. They're a little bit rock ‘n roll, a little bit indie, a little bit alt-country and a whole lot of fun!